Carly Hammond, a reporter who worked for Truth Against the Machine (TATM), brought a sexual assault allegation against Jordan Chariton, a progressive reporter who runs TATM and worked for The Young Turks (TYT). On Monday, Nov. 20, The Intercept reported that TYT had let Chariton go. Chariton had shared on Medium that he had warned TYT that these allegations were going to break, and had believed they were going to investigate the allegations and find him innocent. He later posted that he was surprised and disappointed by The Young Turks’ change in stance.
The allegation was originally shared in a story published by Huffington Post, but Huffington Post later took the story down. The author of the post, Christian Chiakulas, has since republished the story on Medium here. Chariton has said that he has proof that Hammond’s allegations aren’t true and although a sexual encounter did occur, there was mutual consent. Hammond, however, disputes these claims. No charges or lawsuits have been filed in relation to the allegation, but news of the allegation has been spreading in progressive circles ever since Chariton addressed them in a Medium post. Chariton has publicly stated that he believes the article was a form of defamation.
Christian Chiakulas, who wrote the original story, tweeted his own response:
Since the story was published, Hammond was interviewed on Tim Black’s YouTube channel about her story, a couple days after Black delayed the interview after receiving a letter from attorneys. Meanwhile, friends and colleagues are split, with some supporting Hammond and some supporting Chariton. Jordan Chariton was the first investigative reporter hired by The Young Turks, and is known for his reporting on the Flint water crisis, Standing Rock, and WikiLeaks’ DNC leaks. He has said that he has proof he’s innocent and is confident he will ultimately be cleared. Here’s everything that is known about the allegations so far. This is a developing story.
The Allegations Originated on a Huffington Post Story by Christian Chiakulas, Who Once Worked for Chariton
The allegations were first shared in a series of Huffington Post stories written by Christian Chiakulas, who worked for Chariton’s independent news organization called Truth Against the Machine. Both stories that were written by Chiakulas have been removed by Huffington Post, but he has republished the second story on Medium here.
Chiakulas’ first story didn’t mention any names and was titled “Why I Left a Promising Position with an Up-and-Coming Progressive Media Organization.” In his article, Chiakulas said he was writing the story because Chariton preemptively released a statement about the allegations that were coming.
In his first story, Chiakulas said that he had been excited to work for TATM, a project to mobilize independent journalists. After the Harvey Weinstein allegations, he heard about a journalist he didn’t know personally who quit TATM because of something that happened between her and Chariton. He said the journalist was confused and ashamed. He wrote:
Since Harvey Weinstein’s downfall, we as a society have apparently decided to try this radical new idea called “believing women.” That is what I chose to do, and Chariton is terrified that others will do as well when his victims come forward (and they will be coming forward).
After talking to the journalist — later named as Carly Hammond in a second story — Chiakulas resigned his position with TATM. He said that he had no personal vendetta against Chariton, whom he never met, but was “simply choosing to believe women.”
But it was his second piece with Huffington Post where he named Chariton’s accuser that generated the most controversy. This piece was also later removed from Huffington Post, and Chiakulas republished it on Medium.
Carly Hammond Worked for Chariton’s News Organization, Truth Against the Machine
Carly Hammond, the subject of Chiakulas’ second piece, also worked for Chariton’s organization, Truth Against the Machine. According to Chiakulas’ article, she met Chariton through Zee Cohen while covering the water crisis in Flint. (Chiakulas mentioned that Cohen is “another accuser” but didn’t elaborate on how or why, except to say that Cohen did not believe Hammond at first but later changed her mind.)
Hammond’s work mostly involved covering the Flint water crisis. You can see one example of her coverage in the video above. In addition to her video reporting, Hammond also wrote articles for TATM. She and the other reporters were not paid for their work for TATM. She said in the video below that at one point, she got an email telling her that she was one of their top reporters and if she wrote more consistently, they might get enough views to start paying their reporters.
Since the stories were published about her allegations, Hammond shared her story in an interview with Tim Black. You can watch her video below or read the account, as compared to Chariton’s, in the next section. Hammond begins talking about the specific allegation around the one hour mark.
Hammond Said that Sexual Misconduct Happened at a Group Party, but Chariton Said He Had Consent
This section is going to share Carly Hammond’s story of what happened, as reported by Chiakulas in the Huffington Post, and later shared on Medium after it was removed, compared to Jordan Chariton’s version of what happened, as he shared on Medium.
Hammond told Chiakulas that the incident in question happened in May 2017, shortly after she turned 21, when she went out for drinks with Chariton, a TYT cameraman Ty Bayliss, and a TYT reporter Chelsea Lyons. They all returned to Chariton’s hotel room “wasted,” she said. She said she went because she wanted to feel accepted and validated by reporters she had admired. Hammond said:
It was an opportunity to develop closer ties with people who could take me places. Jordan would constantly remind me that he has tons of connections, that I’m very talented and skilled, and that he can help me ‘be a star.’”
Chariton, however, said that although they had a few drinks, no one in the group was actually drunk. In a video interview with Tim Black, Hammond insisted they were drunk and a look at charges from that night would prove this.
Hammond said they all got into a hot tub together, drank more alcohol, and Chariton eventually left and went to bed. Meanwhile, Bayliss and Lyons were making out in the hot tub. In Chariton’s version, he said that the two women were making out in the Jacuzzi, but he agreed that he left the group and went to sleep. (Hammond clarified in her interview with Tim Black that she and Lyons had kissed briefly, but she left later.)
According to Chiakulas’ report, Hammond said that she decided to go to sleep later and the only bed available was Chariton’s. He was snoring when she joined him and went to sleep. Chariton also agreed in his version that he was asleep when Hammond went to bed.
Hammond said that when she woke up, Lyons was trying to kiss her and she tried pushing her off. Then Bayliss tried to kiss her too. Hammond said:
All I could think was, ‘No,’ and let’s be clear, I said it too. Not loudly. I couldn’t yell. But if someone looked at that face, and asked themselves if I wanted any if this, the answer is f***ing no.”
Hammond recalled that Lyons woke up Chariton and said: “She’s beautiful, enjoy her” and Chariton then said, “Are you sure?” Hammond said Chariton was asking Lyons, not her, if it was OK. She said he then did “pretty much everything else he could do” without actually having sex with her.
This is where Chariton’s version differs sharply. According to Chariton, it was the man who woke him up while the two women were having sex in the bed where he was sleeping. He said that when he was asked to join them, he specifically asked for consent, which he received. Chariton wrote:
I have written statements from the other two people in the room confirming that they heard me ask the woman receiving oral sex if she was Ok and if I could approach her intimately- and most importantly, heard her consent.”
In Chiakulas’ report, Hammond said that she eventually kicked Chariton and he stopped, apologized, and took her to the lobby, where he was affectionate. She said she didn’t know how to respond, so she accepted responsibility. She said: “I chose to do the dumbest thing imaginable and accept responsibility for what happened … Might as well just believe everything he says because he’s 11 years older than me and I didn’t want to go through feeling like a victim again.”
Chariton, meanwhile, said that while he and Hammond were intimate, he eventually heard her make a sound indicating she was no longer happy with the situation. He wrote: “I stopped immediately, and she confessed that she had grown distressed about the impact of our intimacy on her marriage. I immediately ended the intimacy and requested that we sit up and talk.”
Chariton said they spent the next few hours in the lobby talking and being affectionate. He said that she wrote him on Facebook the next morning: “Thanks for sacrificing sleep to talk to me last night. I really appreciate it.”
According to both accounts, Chariton and Hammond met in New York later. Chariton didn’t name Hammond in his article, but said that she wrote him on Facebook asking when she should come to New York. He said they ultimately decided not to continue a relationship when he wanted kids and she did not.
Hammond’s story is different. She told Chiakulas that it was Chariton who suggested she spend her own money to fly to New York to work on more reporting. But once she got to his apartment, she said “I knew … everything was a total lie.” She said she felt trapped and left four days later.
Chariton, meanwhile, wrote that it wasn’t until much later that he had any idea that she was upset:
“I was advised that she had changed her depiction of events in May, and had begun telling friends that she was starting to remember things differently. … My instinct was to approach her because I was horrified if a woman thought I’d taken advantage of her, but the friend that told me about her allegation talked me out of it for fear that the woman would be upset she told me. Because I had sought and received her affirmative consent at every opportunity, it never occurred to me that the situation could take a dark turn.”
Chariton Said He Has Proof that He’s Innocent
Chariton has said that he has proof to back up his assertions, and later tweeted that he believes Chiakulas’ stories were defamation. In his Medium article, he said that he has screenshots of the Facebook conversations that he and the woman had after their encounter in May and before she came to visit him in New York.
“I have numerous screenshots of our subsequent conversations, all showing that her tone and attitude toward me did not change after our night at the hotel,” he wrote. “There was never a hint of dismay, hurt, or fear of me. If anything, she expressed more interest, asking to visit and explore our relationship.”
He said that if the woman came forward publicly, he would defend himself and provide evidence of his innocence. Hammond did come forward after he wrote the story, and Chiakulas wrote that more would be coming forward in the future.
At least one woman who was mentioned in Chiakulas’ story has disagreed publicly with what Chiakulas wrote. Graceanne Parks wasn’t mentioned by name, but she shared a public post on Facebook disagreeing with an assertion in the story and saying that Chiakulas was writing about her. She said she told Chiakulas certain things in order to gain access to what he was doing, and she never experienced any sexual harassment from Chariton. Here is what she wrote:
Chiakulas responded on Twitter that he had “photographic evidence” that the person had accused Chariton of abuse, but was not given consent to share it. He clarified in a response that the woman had changed her story considerably. “That is all I am willing to say at this time.” Later, he tweeted screenshots of the conversation:
Chariton’s organization, Truth Against the Machine, released a statement about the allegations. The statement is written by Sam Oser, Editor-in-Chief of TATM. Oser said that she reviewed Chariton’s evidence and:
The proof was overwhelming that what he is saying is the truth. I do not take this topic lightly and my support is because I have seen the overwhelming proof.”
Here is Oser’s full statement:
Chariton later publicly shared a conversation to his Facebook page that was originally posted by Ann Szalkowski. It shows a conversation with Zee Cohen (of TATM) talking about a woman who recounted an encounter she had with Chariton and said it was not rape. In a reply attached to the post, Szalkowski said the comments in blue in the conversation below were from Chariton.
The Young Turks Later Let Chariton Go
On Monday, November 20, The Intercept reported that The Young Turks originally put Chariton on administrative leave to investigate, but ultimately let Chariton go after the allegations came out. The Intercept received an email that TYT’s management sent to the staff. The email read, in part:
Although privacy concerns keep us from discussing the details surrounding this, I wanted to communicate that Jordan is no longer employed by The Young Turks.”
Chariton later wrote on Medium that he had been informed of the firing on Friday, November 17, hours after The Huffington Post article was published. He wrote in his post that the accusations were baseless and defamatory, since The Huffington Post had taken down the articles because they couldn’t fact check them or stand behind the reporting. In a previous Medium article, he said that he had gone to The Young Turks before the allegations broke and believed they would conduct an investigation that would exonerate him.
Furthermore, there exists substantial evidence establishing that these claims were fabricated. This evidence includes discussion board posts wherein the author and co-conspirators plotted a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against the website I founded — Truth Against the Machine — and spoke brazenly about using the claims to threaten and demand my firing from The Young Turks along with destroying my career.”
Chariton also had harsh words for The Young Turks:
The Young Turks fired me without ever reviewing the copious countervailing evidence in my favor. While they happily used my name and image to fundraise over 2 million dollars, the hoped-for investigation never commenced, leaving me without a crucial means of demonstrating my innocence, and insufficient income to support myself while I fight to clear my name.
I was instead encouraged to take the employment equivalent of an Alford plea, something which spares TYT the inconvenience of a more formal process, but denies me the chance to defend myself. Meanwhile, The Young Turks have manufactured a fiction in which they claim that my unpaid side project for citizen journalists is a conflict of interest that — despite promoting it themselves numerous times on a TYT-branded show — justifies, throwing me under the bus.
He added that the only people who write about the allegations are “internet conspiracy theorists using the ‘story’ for click bait…”
Michael Calderone of Politico later reported that Chariton was threatening to sue The Young Turks for letting him go. The Young Turks responded that they could not comment on the situation:
Different Groups Are Taking Sides, Some Supporting Hammond and Some Supporting Chariton
The allegations are splitting groups apart, as some take Hammond’s side and others take Chariton’s. Chariton wrote on Medium that he came forward because he had heard about a group of people who were “plotting” against him.
I’ve learned that this woman and a group of others with a vendetta against me for unrelated reasons have been targeting my professional colleagues and plotting to try and ‘take me down.’ Their plotting got so in-depth—and frankly irrational—that theories were posed suggesting since I worked on Bill O’Reilly’s floor at Fox News eight years ago—for four months—they should find women I worked with there to come forward. There was also talk about digging into my college days. There was also talk about asking women about their encounters with me that I’ve never even met. There was also false stories told by one person in particular—with a proven track record of lying…”
Here is one of the tweets in support of Chariton:
Another tweet in support of Chariton was written by Emma Vigeland, but she later deleted the tweet. It read: “I know my colleague and mentor @JordanChariton to be true to his word. He is an honest person, and he has treated me with complete respect during our time together.”
Meanwhile, several others have come out on social media supporting Hammond’s story. Here are a few:
Ruel James, who left Truth Against the Machine and was formerly a chief editor, also spoke out on Facebook. Ruel said: “Having met Jordan, having heard how Jordan speaks about women, I do believe these accusations are true.” He didn’t see any actions for himself, he admitted. Here’s what Ruel said:
Jenn Dize, who lists her job on Facebook as “Jordan’s brain at Truth Against the Machine” and is also a writer for Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, was mentioned in Chiakulas’ article but contested his story. Dize also commented on James’ video above, angry at his allegations. She wrote that she offered Chiakulas and James facts which they ignored.
“How DARE you do this to actual survivors?,” she wrote, later adding, “You are doing a disservice to survivors like me. Who have INVESTIGATED this issue VERY thoroughly.”
Chiakulas wrote that Paula Martinez-Benge, a former reporter with TATM, would be sharing her own story in the future. She later did share that story on Medium here, talking about how she disagreed with statements Chariton made, with how she was treated, and with what she said she heard him say about women.
Taylor Raines, former editor in chief of Truth Against the Machine, has also made a public statement on Facebook about the allegations. She said that she heard allegations of sexual harassment while she worked there, although she never experienced any incidents with Chariton personally. Her statement from Facebook is below:
Summer Swan, a writer for Truth Against the Machine, publicly resigned and shared why she made that decision on her blog.
Claudia Stauber had interviewed Lyons on Facebook Live about her version of what happened that night. Lyons had vehemently disputed the story from Hammond. For some reason, Stauber later took down this interview and it’s no longer available for viewing.
We will update this story as more information is available.